RICHARD THOMPSON was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in London Monday. Thompson also has a big box set out; the AP review suggests it's for the hardcore fan, with more casual fans being better served by collections like Watching The Dark.
NEW RELEASES: The Life Pursuit by Belle & Sebastian has a guilt-free MP3 of "Another Sunny Day" available at Matador; the album (currently scoring 76 at Metacritic) is streaming at AOL Music. Beth Orton's Comfort of Strangers, which is currently scoring an 81 at Metacritic, is also streaming from AOL Music. Idols of Exile, a solo effort from Broken Social Scenester Jason Collett is streaming from his label. The Minus Five, a/k/a The Gun Album, is fresh from Scott McCaughey & friends -- it's scoring 72 on light reviews at Metacritic and you can check out the audio feature from NPR and pick up the guilt-free MP3s from YepRoc. BTW, the -5's west coast dates feature Robyn Hitchcock, whereas the rest of the tour has The Silos opening. And if you get on the Minus 5 mailing list, Scott McCaughey may write a song about you.
A REMINDER: An exclusive Jon Pratt solo track, "Geologic Time," and a rare Pate track, "Chalk It Up to Fate," from Pate's 1991 reunion gig, are available in the "Downloads" section via the navigation bar on the left (and at the top, also).
TED LEO is moving from the Lookout! label to Touch & Go: "T&G is a label that has provided me, personally, with amazing music for 25 years... it's an honor to now be a real part of their ongoing ruling-ness."
MORE COWBELL! The Wikipedia is compiling a list of songs featuring the cowbell. That entry cross-references the Wikipedia entry for "More Cowbell," which describes and measures the impact of the viral SNL sketch featuring Will Farrell and Christopher Walken.
SEEN YOUR VIDEO: The Who's classic performance of "My Generation" on the Smothers Bros. Comedy Hour, which opens The Kids Are Alright. Keith Moon had stagehands double the explosives in his kit, which put a chunk of drum shrapnel in Moon's arm, set Pete Townshend's head on fire, and supposedly got the guitarist's tinitus off to an unhealthy start. You can see Pete putting his hair out near the end of the clip.
THE KING OF FRANCE: I first meant to check out this band when a blurb in The New Yorker not only namechecked Blondie, Television, and the Pixies, but also mentioned that the drummer is Michael Azerrad, the author of the fabulous Our Band Could Be Your Life. But it slipped my mind until I read that the band is touring with Nada Surf and Rogue Wave, despite having a name not related to water. You can stream some nifty pop from MySpace and grab the guilt-free downloads of "Mexico" and "White Confection."
SPRING TOURS have been announced by Neko Case and The Magic Numbers.
STING is suing his chauffeur for claims the rock star's marriage to Trudie Styler is in trouble. But he's suing for "breach of confidence," not defamation.
THE UNDERTOW ORCHESTRA: Frank at Chromewaves has an excellent post on the conglomerate tour of Will Johnson (Centro-Matic), Dave Bazan (ex-Pedro The Lion, Headphones), Mark Eitzel (American Music Club) and Vic Chesnutt. Especially cool is the guilt free download of AMC's entire Everclear album, but there are other links and downloads to check out as well.
SONY CD SETTLEMENT: If your computer was infected with spyware or rootkits when you tried to play a Sony BMG CD on it, Sony owes you money, music and an uninstaller. Boing-Boing has the highlights, plus a link to the details. This does not mean companies like SunComm are going away, natch...
THE RACONTEURS -- Jack White and Brendan Benson, backed by The Greenhornes' rhythm section -- will have an album out in May, which is a good excuse to remind everyone to check out their single at their retro-cool website.
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY and SCARLETT JOHANSSON grace the cover of the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair, with guest artistic director Tom Ford sitting in for Rachel McAdams, who backed out at the last minute, as noted here in December. Angelina Jolie will be similarly unclothed inside the mag, which comes out today, iirc. I don't know what Jane Austen would say about it, but I'll bet Woody Allen buys a dozen. Knightley and Johansson were said to be a little embarrassed about posing nude; Keira says as much on the the sadly safe-for-work video, which is also posted on YouTube. Scarlett was rocking a vintage Police tour jersey after the shoot.
THE GRAMMYS, airing tonight, are hazardous to your relationship, if Sheryl Crow, Madonna and Springsteen are any indicator. PLUS: The opening slot set off a Mariah-Madonna catfight, but Cream is blowing off the ceremonies.
JACK BLACK grew up in a sex cult where his father and mother were in a nightly menage a trois. Which explains a bit about Jack Black.
SIENNA MILLER may be the latest to go on the Skeletor diet. She's playing Edie Sedgwick in Factory Girl, so maybe she just wants to look strung out for the role.
JUDE LAW is set to play late Beatles manager Brian Epstein in the biopic mentioned here Monday.
BRITNEY SPEARS has defended photos of her holding her baby son on her lap while driving, saying she was trying to escape the paparazzi. At least, that's what she probably told the LA County Sheriff's Dept...
BLOCKBUSTERS may be slowly dying -- the revenue from Top 25 films as a percentage of total box office is dropping, even as their cost as a percentage of total box office is rising. Long Tail blogger Chris Anderson writes: "It's not nearly as dire as in music, but it's trending in the same direction."
...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: Terry Gilliam cuts off his nose to spite his face. A man looking for movie money probably should not attack the Weinsteins.
LOST has a new episode tonight. Viewers can recap the last one at TVgasm. Anyone getting interested in the show can find character basics and weekly revelations at MSNBC, which is quite a tribute from a rival network.
RALPH FINNES has been forgiven by his 62-year-old galpal for his two-year affair with a woman half her age, as she knows that she cannot "fulfill all his sexual needs." Otoh, his ex-wife, ER star Alex Kingston, was devastated by the affair.
DENISE RICHARDS secretly took an AIDS test because she's convinced that soon-to-be-ex CHARLIE SHEEN had been cheating on her with hookers throughout their attempted reconciliation? Granted, it's in the Enquirer, so it may well be untrue... but it might not be a bad suggestion.
BRADGELINA: The media has a fever... and the only prescription is... more Bradgelina! Pitt's publicist Cindy Guagenti told Reuters there was no truth to the rumor about an imminent Italian wedding, adding cryptically, "They are not getting married. I don't want a story about they're not getting married. I think you guys should just drop the whole thing."
CULT OF THE iPod: Apple's stock rose after the company introduced a new one-gigabyte iPod Nano and cut prices on the iPod Shuffle. The Chicago Tribune looked at workers rocking the cubicle.
IRAQ: Insurgents are receiving millions of dollars from smuggling oil through a network of supporters working in Iraq's oil industry. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld told a Senate panel that such corruption could damage efforts to create a democracy, adding that coalition officials are doing more to investigate those problems within the government. Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senators that the National Guard and Reserves will play a much smaller role next year. Meanwhile, The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is studying audio recordings between Saddam Hussein and his top advisers that may provide clues to the fate of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Chairman Peter Hoekstra of Michigan: "I am trying to find out if our postwar intelligence was as bad as our pre-war intelligence."
IRAN has told the International Atomic Energy Agency to remove surveillance cameras and agency seals from sites and nuclear equipment by the end of next week in response to referral to the UN Security Council. Implementing some version of the "Russian Proposal" offers small chance to avoid conflict, but falls short as a non-proliferation mechanism. Former Democratic Rep. Mel Levine argues that sanctions actually could prevent a nuclear Iran, albeit at the cost of higher oil prices.
CORETTA SCOTT KING'S FUNERAL: Pres. Bush praised MLK's wife. The Rev. Joseph Lowery and former Pres. Jimmy Carter attacked Pres. Bush. Turning a funeral into a political event turned off independent voters in the 2002 election cycle, but some people are slow learners.
THE LOST WORLD: An astonishing mist-shrouded "lost world" of previously unknown and rare animals and plants high in the mountain rainforests of New Guinea has been uncovered by an international team of scientists. In a jungle camp site, surrounded by giant flowers and unknown plants, the researchers watched rare bowerbirds perform elaborate courtship rituals. The surrounding forest was full of strange mammals, such as tree kangaroos and spiny anteaters, which appeared totally unafraid, suggesting no previous contact with humans. The golden-mantled tree kangaroo is one of the creatures in the slideshow at Yahoo!
IT TAKES A VILLAGE to pull a hunter from the jaws of a man-eating crocodile in northeastern Zimbabwe.
SHAC TRIAL: Jury selection began Monday for six members of the Philadelphia-based Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, on charges with animal enterprise terrorism, conspiracy and interstate stalking, part of a plan to drive Huntingdon Life Sciences out of business. "Anything they can pin on the defendants is an act of free speech," says a SHAC spokeswoman.
B.B. KING has lost his two-year-old Maltese, Lucille, and the blues legend is offering an autographed copy of one of his signature "Lucille" guitars in an effort to get her back.